Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be.

Robert Browning's quote echoes through my head frequently during our 30th anniversary trip to Franconia Notch NH earlier this week. It is an idyllic trip to one of our favorite areas to explore. We leave Portland Monday morning and stop at a beautiful spot along the Kancamangus Highway for a picnic lunch:


  

We enjoy our sandwiches and then Brendan hands me a small package and says, "Happy Anniversary." Inside the package is an exquisite pair of silver and pearl earrings as well as a delicate silver necklace with six pearl beads, both from my favorite jeweler in Portland, D. Cole Jewelers. He had checked and found out that the anniversary gem for the 30th is Pearl. Is this guy a keeper, or what?

After lunch we head for the Franconia Inn, stopping along the way at a beautiful site called Beaver Pond:


  

The Inn is a sprawling Colonial style structure with a tradition as a resort dating back to the 1860's, although the present structure was built in the 1930's after a devastating fire.


  

After checking into our room, we take a walk out back past the pool and along a path leading to a small river with a sandy beach.


  

Temps and humidity are both in the 90's so I head for the pool and Brendan opts to crank the A/C in the room and catch some zzz's.


  
(picture from the Inn's website)

Floating around the pool, images of our wedding 30 years earlier to the day drift into my mind. Can it really be 30 years ago that we got married? In some ways it does seem a lifetime ago...so much has happened since then. But it also seems as if we were just walking out of that church, Brendan humming the A&W Root Beer jingle (one of our earliest inside jokes).


  

I get out of the pool and head back to the room. It's now time to give Brendan his gift. He looks puzzled as he opens the CD. He had laughed at me when I brought my laptop into the inn. "You do know that you won't get any internet access here, don't you? We're out in the middle of nowhere." Now I could show him why I brought it. I set it up and we watch the 170 pictures and listen to the music. He obviously enjoys it, chuckling at a few of the pictures. At the end, he asks me how long it had taken me to put it together and tells me how much he likes it. He has forgotten about some of the pictures (as I had) and we laugh recalling some great situations and stories. I declare the gift a great success...he is obviously surprised and touched, no easy feat.


  
(picture from Inn's website)

Dinner is wonderful, a creamy, rich lobster bisque for both of us to start, followed by sesame seed encrusted grilled tuna steak on a bed of wakame seaweed salad with a wasabi dip for me and a scrumptious sea scallop and shrimp scampi served on pasta for Brendan. Our waiter is an adorable young man, tie slightly askew, obviously more comfortable on the gridiron or in a hockey rink than in an elegant dining room. He gingerly carries our bisques to the table, sloshing some over the rims of the bowls. He has no idea what wine Brendan is requesting so Brendan points to it on the wine list. It is a champagne so he nearly panics trying to remove the cork basket. I can see his lips moving in silent prayer (or is he cursing us?) as he slowly unpops the cork. ("Please don't let this put their eyes out, break any windows or knock out the diners at the next table!) All goes well, he looks very relieved and rushes off to get us an ice bucket for the bottle. He is so cute, trying so hard to make a good impression, and clearly feeling like a bull in a china shop.

After dinner we take the rest of our champagne out onto the screened in porch, watch the sunset and listen to the crickets and peepers. We are feeling very contented and lucky.


  
(picture from Inn's website)

Breakfast the next morning is much more chaotic than dinner. A number of families are in the dining room with their wee ones. We smile at each other as we watch parents riding herd on rebellious two year olds, rambunctious youngsters and sullen pre-teens. We are both thinking the same thing: been there, done that and not interested in doing it again soon, thank you very much...but we wouldn't have traded the experience for anything.

As we leave we notice a distinct change in the weather. Thunderstorms have been predicted and they are moving into the notch:


  

We stop at an amazing natural formation called "The Basin" and marvel at nature's subtle and persistent power, as well as its soothing beauty.


  

  

  

We continue our meandering and end up at the Mount Washington Hotel where we have lunch on their protected patio.

  

As an added treat we get to watch a thunderstorm sweep across the valley and engulf the mountain, truly an awesome show!


  

We take advantage of a brief break in the storm action to run back to the car and resume our trip home.


  

  

  

We arrive home refreshed and renewed, with a set of memories of another shared experience to add to so many others over the years. It has been a most amazing trip from
here

  

to here

  
(1992)

to here

  


"Marriage is not a ritual or an end. It is a long, intricate, intimate dance together and nothing matters more than your own sense of balance and your choice of partner."
-- Amy Bloom

2 comments:

KNIT A NEW DREAM said...

All of those gorgeous places - I just love them all! So glad that your trip went well and a good time was had by all. The slide show was a great idea and I very much enjoyed the pics. I will have to tell hubby that pearls are the 30th anniversary gem----HMMMMM How can I get him to read your post sue

Pam said...

What a nice time you seemed to have. The pictures are beautiful! My DH and I have been married for 13 yrs., and you give me such hope that we will continue to be happy for many, many years to come.